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Chapter 27: The Master's last year on earth

Thus did the Master in love-madness for Krishna lament night and day. Jagadananda Pandit was very dear unto Him, and was every year sent by Him to Nadia to console his forlorn mother Shachi. "Go to Nadia", so the Master charged Jagadananda, "convey my salutation to mother, touch her feet on my behalf. Tell her to remember that I go there daily (in the spirit) to bow to her. That I have taken the sannyasi's vow leaving her service only shows that I am mad and have really undone all dharma. Mother! pardon this fault of mine. I am obedient to thee, I am thy son. It is at thy bidding that I am living at Nilachal. I cannot leave thee while life remains to me." The Master presented to His mother (at the Puri's suggestion) the consecrated cloth that He had received at the Gopa-lila with choice prasad of Jagannath. He was the crowning example of filial piety, for even though a sannyasi He served His mother.

After receiving an enigmatic message in verse from the Acharya Goswami (of Shantipur) through Jagadananda when he returned to Puri, the Master plunged into a deeper trance. His ecstasy at Krishna-separation was doubled. He raved frantically day and night, identifying Himself with Radha. Suddenly imagining that Krishna was leaving Brindaban for Mathura, He (in the character of Radha) was seized with dizziness and developed madness, mourning deliriously while clasping the neck of Ramananda and addressing Swarup as one of the sakhis (i.e., Radha's companions). He repeated the verse which Radha had spoken to Vishakha (her handmaid) and held forth on it.

Thus did Gauranga weep, saying, "Alas! alas for Krishna! where hast thou gone?" Swarup and Ramananda consoled Him in many ways, singing joyous songs, which calmed Him a little.

These lamentations were carried on to midnight. Then Swarup laid the Master to bed in His room. Ramananda left for his home, and Govinda lay down at the door of the room. Love for Krishna was thrilling the Master's heart; He awoke and began to sing the Name; the pang of separation convulsed His heart, and He began to rub His face against the wall; His face, cheeks, nose were all lacerated, but in the vehemence of ecstasy He knew not of the blood streaming down.

All night He battered His face thus. Swarup, noticing the groaning sound, lighted a lamp, entered the room and saw His face. In intense grief the two brought Him back to His bed and soothed Him. Swarup asked, "Why didst thou do this?" The Master answered, "I could not contain myself in the room in my [love] anxiety. I rushed in search of the door in order to go out very soon. I could not find the door and only knocked my face against the four walls. It was torn, it bled, but still I could not go out."

Then, Swarup in anxiety took counsel of the other bhaktas next day and made Shankar Pandit sleep in the Master's room, nursing His feet. In fear of Shankar He could not leave the room nor knock His face against the walls. These feats Raghunath-das has described in his Chaitanya-staba-kalpa-briksha.

One Baishakh night, when it was full moon, the Master went with His bhaktas to visit the great Jagannath-vallabh park. The trees and creepers were in full bloom as at Brindaban, the green parrots, bees and cuckoos were discoursing [love]. The Zephyr was blowing laden the scent of flowers, and freshening made the tree-tops dance. Under the bright moonlight the plants and creepers blazed in a silvery sheen. Spring pervaded the atmosphere. The sight threw the Master into a rapture. He bade the stanza Lalita labanga lata [of the Git-Govinda, canto ix. verse 6] be sung, and moved up and down dancing with His followers. Passing thus from tree to tree, He came under an Ashoka tree and lo! he beheld Krishna standing there. He rushed to meet Krishna, who disappeared laughing. The Master, losing Krishna after having caught sight of him, fell down in a faint. The odour of Krishna's person filled the garden; it took away the Master's senses, it maddened Him, and He began to sing and hold forth on the verses that Radha, enamoured of the scent of Krishna's body, had addressed to her sakhi.

Swarup and Ramananda sang, the Master danced in rapture, and thus the night wore on to dawn.